PORTLAND, Ore. A quantum-key distribution and encryption system developed by Magiq Technologies Inc. and called the Navajo Security Gateway promises unbreakable encryption over existing fiber-optic lines. The crypto system will initially be available only to U.S. companies and agencies, the company said.
"Navajo Security Gateway is the world's first commercial-grade quantum-key distribution system available now for use over existing fiber-optic cables up to 120 kilometers apart. It offers unbreakable quantum-key distribution as many as 100 times per second, plus layers of VPN [virtual private network] security and classically based data encryption," said Andrew Hammond, vice president of marketing and business development at Magiq (New York).
In quantum-key distribution, an uncrackably secure key is transmitted, after which a normal encryption/decryption technique is used over standard fiber-optic lines. The key is chosen by a random quantum process rather than picked by a random number generator, thus avoiding the usual computational difficulty of cracking a typical encryption algorithm.
Instead, quantum encryption creates unbreakable codes that employ the laws of physics to guarantee security. Different quantum states are used, such as photon polarization, to represent ones and zeros in a manner that cannot be observed without the receiver sensing the observation.
Recently, two Swiss companies ID Quantique SA and World Internet Secure Key SA and the International Organization for the Security of Electronic Transactions pledged to create the infrastructure necessary for worldwide distribution of unbreakable quantum keys. The longest laboratory demonstration of quantum-key distribution up to now was done by NEC Corp. in Japan, but Navajo is ready for existing fiber-optic links, Magiq said.
Only U.S. companies and agencies can make use of Magiq's Navajo, but the company is currently applying for an export license to ship the system to G-8 trading partners. In addition to the United States, those countries Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom.